The biggest problem with illegal drugs is that they’re illegal. The war on drugs has cost billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money, countless law enforcement hours, overcrowded our prisons, and given rise to violent street gangs. In the state of Kansas, where I live, a person can be sentenced for up to one year imprisonment and a $2,500 fine for their first conviction of even the tiniest amount of marijuana (NORML). Have these draconian measures stopped drug use in America? Hardly.
Should drug use be stopped? Most would probably say “yes”. I disagree. The United States is supposed to be a free country. The Declaration of Independence states in the preamble that among our inalienable rights are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Why then does the government prohibit–at great expense–adult citizens from possessing, growing, or using harmless drugs like marijuana?
We experimented with prohibition in the 1920s and early 1930s when the government made it illegal to manufacture, transport, import, export, sale, and possess alcoholic beverages. This experiment was a disaster. Violent gangs and racketeering proliferated under these laws. The black market flourished providing illegal booze to those who wished to partake. These same things are now happening as a result of our war on drugs.
If drugs were legalized they could be taxed and regulated, violent criminals wouldn’t have to be released due to overcrowding, and violent street gangs would dwindle.
Marijuana is not addictive and hasn’t resulted in a single death. Alcohol, by these standards, is much more harmful yet is legal to manufacture, transport, sell, and consume. Marijuana deserves at least the same status.
I’d love to read you comments.